The Past, Present and Future of the Chinese Comic
  Shanghai is the cradle of Chinese Comic. In 1925, Shanghai International Publishing House published "Three Kingdoms", "Pilgrimage to the West" and "Biography of Yue Fei", which were the first four works that were named Chinese Comics. During the period of War of Resistance against Japan, Chinese Comic in Shanghai got a rapid progress. There were about two hundred people engaged in Chinese Comic. Four genres---Shen Manyun, Zhao Hongben, Qian Xiao'ai and Chen Guangyi, the so called "the Four Dans" in Chinese Comic field generated. On drawing technique, Zhao and Qian were comparatively realistic, while Chen was magniloquent. During the period from 1930s to 1940s, the Chinese Comic began to develop gradually rapidly.
  After liberation, Chinese Comic's development entered its splendid period. From 1950s to 1960s, classical materials were stressed. People's Fine Arts Publishing House (PFAPH) and Shanghai PFAPH gathered elites in Chinese Comic field, such as Dong Tianye, Zhao Sandao, Wang Yushan, Chen Guangyi and Zhang Lingtao, etc. to create classic series---"Three Kingdoms", "A Dream of Red Mansion", "Biography of Yue Fei", as well as "Mr. Dongguo", and "The Western Chamber". The western painting techniques---oil painting, sketch and watercolor were also used in drawing the Chinese Comic. During the period, many new promising painters emerged, such as Wang Yiqiu, Wang Guanqing, Luo Pan and Liu Danzhai, and so on.
  The Cultural Revolution was a peculiar period for the Chinese Comic. Works that created before the Revolution were regarded as capitalistic products and were all destroyed. Many newly created works came forth, which were created according to the stage scene and divorced from common life. However they showed the characteristic of that age and all were excellent works, such as Gu Bingxin's "Lenin in October" and so on.
  In early 1980s, there came a renaissance in Chinese Comic field. However the quiddity was to republish the old editions of Chinese Comics. For example, "Railway Guerillas" was ever republished for 30,000,000 volumes. Many famous painters also appeared, such as Meng Qingjiang and Lei Dezu, etc.
  However the resources of the old editions were soon used up. Influenced by the economy in late 1980s, children lost their interests in Chinese Comics, and painters were also tired of their work with low profits. Before long the Chinese Comics disappeared from bookstores.
  Since mid-1990s, many people became interested again in Chinese Comics and began to collect them. There were two reasons: First, many adults in their 30s or above grew up in the influences of Chinese Comics. They missed their childhood lives, and wanted to take Chinese Comics as mementos. Secondly, the collectors hoped that their collections would be worth more in the future. The collection of the Chinese Comic propelled the publication of the Chinese Comic. And we do hope one day there will be another renaissance appear in the Chinese Comic field´
By Meng Lin
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